Money & Banking

Road accidents: Govt looking at time limit for filing insurance claims

Suresh P Iyengar Mumbai | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on January 17, 2017

There are about 10 lakh accident cases waiting for insurance claimsettlement MA SRIRAM

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With online filing of FIR, working on a fixed deadline should not be difficult, says General Insurance Council official

The government is considering a time limit for filing insurance claims in road accidents to make the process of giving compensation more efficient and faster.

The General Insurance Council, the association of 30 insurance companies, has recommended a deadline of one year for insurance claims in case of death in road accidents and six months for injuries.

R Chandrasekaran, Secretary General, General Insurance Council, said the Motor Vehicles Act provided for a similar deadline till 1994 but was removed by Parliament after the Supreme Court observed in one of its judgments that compensation should not be denied on account of delay in filing of a case.

“Way back in 1994, there were only four (general) insurance companies. But now the insurance sector has undergone a sea change and there are scores of private companies with well-defined claim processing systems,” he said.

In this age of computerisation and online filing of first information report (FIR), it is not very difficult for both the police and the consumer to work on a fixed deadline, said Chandrasekaran.

The move, he said, will also bring down rampant forged claims that are made years after the accident. The Council made a submission in this regard before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture last November.

With road accidents rising, there are about 10 lakh accident cases waiting for insurance claim settlement and about six lakh cases are being added every year.

Accident report

Of the overall pending cases, about 70-75 per cent pertain to minor injuries, such as bruises and fractures, where the claim is not more than ₹2.5 lakh. On an average, a claim is settled in seven to eight years due to various delays.

The Council has also recommended that the government implement the provision available under law, that is, allow the police to submit a copy of the Detailed Accident Report (DAR) to the insurance company and the court simultaneously.

In 2009, the Delhi High Court took cognisance of a judgment passed by the Supreme Court and directed the police to submit a copy of the DAR to the respective insurance company. Following this, Chandrasekaran said most claims in Delhi are being settled within one year against seven years in other States.

The precious time of courts need not be wasted if a copy of the DAR is provided to the insurance company and there is no dispute between the insurer and the insurance company, he added.

Following in the steps of the Delhi High Court action, the Madras and Bombay High Courts have given instructions to the police to follow suit.

Published on January 17, 2017
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